Credit: Freepik

ECHR Rejects Climate Lawsuit Against 32 States, Including Czech Republic

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg today dismissed as unsubstantiated a lawsuit brought by six Portuguese students against 32 countries, including the Czech Republic, for allegedly failing to meet climate commitments.

According to the legal action, the 27 EU countries and another five are failing to take action to avert catastrophic climate change, which the complainants say threatens their right to life.

This was the first climate change action before the Strasbourg court, and the first against so many countries at the same time, the German dpa news agency has reported.

The lawsuit was aimed at all 27 EU member states, including the Czech Republic, as well as Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Turkey.

The young Portuguese citizens turned to the ECHR in 2020. Their initial motivation for filing the lawsuit was the massive fires in 2017, when over 200 square kilometres of forests burnt in Portugal’s Leiria region, killing more than 100 people.

They claim that the named countries have failed to take adequate measures to prevent global average temperature rises of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era, as they committed to at the 2015 Paris climate conference.

The Strasbourg court today also dismissed a lawsuit brought by Damien Careme, the former mayor of the northern French municipality of Grande-Synthe, against the French state, which he said was refusing to take more ambitious climate measures, putting his town on the North Sea coast at risk of sinking.

On the other hand, the ECHR ruled in favour of a group of elderly Swiss women who sued the Swiss government for not doing enough to combat global warming. It is the first time the Strasbourg court has found against a state for failing to adequately combat climate change, the AFP French news agency reported.

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